tv [untitled] August 3, 2011 7:00am-7:30am PDT
people do not say what ever -- there is pressure, but i think that largely, now in this day and age, with the light shining on us 100% of the time, i would tell you that when issues come forward, the officers would not have happened. >> mr. herley, do you have comments? >> i would absolutely agree with the chief. there are very few times you were brought before your boss and ordered to tell the truth or you're fired, period. my concern is when your not ordered to come before your boss, and you see something happen, and you cannot do anything. that is my concern, and i'm sure the chief's also.
i never thought i would be sitting here agreeing with every word john burris would say. [laughter] this is the first time i have had an opportunity to be with him. however, i do agree with him. it has to be enforced throughout the organization. what we expect up our people. what we want to ensure up our people, particularly the integrity and the values aspect. many of us, not many, but quite a few departments have of all you statement. ethics, integrity are part of those values. it is not just a document that is on a wall. it is something we have to
believe that every level and in force at every level. in preparing for this, i found an absolutely wonderful article, "the truth about the police code of silence revealed." i really recommend that you take a look at that. i'm going to recommend most police chiefs take a look at this. there are profiles. he talks about the code of silence. that is about the fact that there is. how you prevent the code of silence? it is like how do you prevent crime? or how do you stop crime, let's put it that way. the best way to prevent these kinds of indiscretions, or as
you will, from happening, is to ensure each level of your organization is responsible for the people that they supervise. and you inspects, you audits, you ensure, and then it becomes part of the culture. i will tell you one of the best tools i have seen in my career -- two of the best tools. no. 1, tape recorder. two, video camera. i am not talking about watching "cops" on tv. it is a couple of things. number one, the officer is going to act differently because they know they're being found. number two is i suggest that
utilize the person you are talking to there being recorded for film. no. 3 is there is verification of what exactly happened. there are multiple of benefits in that. in the greenroom, we were talking about the cost of outfitting of one car. how much does it cost for a lawsuit? what does it do to the perception of the department. those are the kinds of things we can do. but we have to put it -- we have to commit as a city, as individuals to the detriment of our own police department, rather than looking askance at
it and assuming that every police department and employee in that department -- is not fair. >> mr. hanlon? >> i think one thing to keep side of -- sight of, if we're giving people the power to carry a gun and arrest citizens and put them in jail forever. we talk about how we deal with this situation, to minimize it and say it is just a few officers, the department is generally ok, that there is not a culture here, whether it is a code of silence or a code that we can do what ever we want, it is not dealing with the problem. [applause] i believe that it has to be dealt with. but it cannot be dealt with by minimizing it and saying there's
too much media about this stuff, that it is not fair. it is fair because the police are given this incredible power. more than anybody else. you know, i can deal with a cop in court, but i will not mess with him on the street, because he can tell me or arrest me. there has to be a standard -- he can kill me or arrest me. there has to be a standard. ianne is talking about her clients are basically on the street. this is not a minor problem. [applause] >> we of so many other questions that need to be answered, but i think we're coming to the end of our time. this is been a fabulous discussion with our experts here, with all the notes from whence they are talking. i want to thank everyone for
their words of wisdom and -- and i think it has been a wonderful discussion about this problem. i have a couple of questions that have been submitted, which i will throw open to any panelist. i guess this could be fourfor ms. wu. what is the procedure for the san francisco police department and the d.a. and is a public? >> it is public. there are external and internal policies for bringing forward materials that would affect the credibility of witnesses i hate -- credibility of witnesses. from the crime lab scandal -- >> situation.
situation. i will use the word situation. in particular, and it is all known to the public -- this man had a conviction out of san mateo we had not learned about. we could not cross-examine on that. and that was a problem. it was a problem immediately addressed. so, i talked to a lot of other g-8's offices to find out how -- d.a.'s offices throughout the state to find out how they dealt with this. i find that a lot of offices across the state rely on that type of relationship. given the situation occurred with the crime lab, we needed to absolutely do more, and what we did is create a policy where they did, and i think it may
have been cheap gas than -- chief gaston at the time were they created personnel files where they could go to the court system to learn whether this type of material existed, whether or not information that we should know about individuals who are testifying for us in that trial should be given to the police department. we also have our own internal policy because -- which means if there are allegations of misconduct, we create materials and have an internal policy about how the material is disseminated within our offices so that we can comply with all our obligations in terms of discovery. our office has had a lot of discussions about the implementation of that policy and a lot about when we should implement policy and when during
the course of litigation that information should be provided. we chose to be very expensive on that. we chose to give it prior to preliminary hearings if time allows. i think that is above and beyond what the law requires. those are the decisions that were made. we do have a set policy, a set policy that we also think provides a set process for the people bringing forward material. for example, if you have material we're looking at, we have opportunities to provide information to us or to come in and discuss with us what the allegations are against them prior to making a determination if there is material. all that is on our website, i believe. and now with the lights going
out -- i think they are turning the lights down on us. >> it is like the academy awards. >> i know, i know. >> do we have time for one more question? ok. ok. chief suhr, a ban has been called on the use of master keys at the sro. can you discuss whether this is a viable option or why the officers should use them? >> i am aware of that, but consent is also a lawful search, and i know a lot of these hotels would just as soon we not be breaking down their doors and paying to fix the doors or the police department can secure the door and then they have to put a person on the door, and that leads to other theft from folks in the hotel.
so, i certainly would look at it and consider it, but i think that's if there is lawful consent given and the past key is used or the person's own key is used, it ends up being, as many things are in this day and age, a cost issue. >> i would like to weigh in. can you imagine police officers arriving at the ritz carlton, informing the front desk they would like a key that opens all the hotel rooms, and no, they do not need an escort. they just will be doing what they would like. there would be public outcry. and the only reason that there is a public outcry about the use of master keys, and we have brought forth stories -- "the new york times" published a story with first hand witnesses
from single occupancy hotels. this is someone's home. there is no different constitution for people living in sro's. they say the officers come in and intimidate physically or verbally into handing over the passkey. if this were happening anywhere , but sro's, there would be outcry. [applause] >> and our one last question will be open for anyone who wishes to answer it. do you think it is fair that police who kill citizens are put on administrative leave while the citizens to do the same thing are immediately arrested and imprisoned it? >> [yelling] >> anyone want to grab that one? [laughter]
>> i believe the question is whether or not if a police officer killed someone in the line of duty and they are put on administrative leave? >> that is what i read here. >> so, again, the police officer is subject to all the lost anybody else is subject to. the reason they're put on administrative leave while the investigation continues is to make sure the investigation goes forward and the officer is not outside. i do not think it is looked upon by the officers -- and i know it is not intended by the police department -- as a reward. it is just something done as the investigation goes forward. once the finding is made, then it proceeds. if it is not a criminal trial, as with the oscar grant shooting, everybody saw the way that went. >> [unintelligible] >> i am sorry? and if it goes another way, then
it proceeds down that track. >> any other comments? any closing comments by anyone? i think they have said their due. >> i have one. >> ok. >> these issues are very complex. there are legitimate sides. but i do think that it requires thoughtful analysis of the issues as we try to look at a department, having been looking at a department and trying to offer solutions. i realize how complex and challenging it is to move the agenda, but if you have good will for the different sides,
but we can do it if there is a commitment on the part of the department as well as the public officials. because public officials need to make a commitment to hold the police department accountable. if they do not do that, it does not matter what the lawyers agree upon. at the end of the day, the officers will be held accountable to the public officials and public officials -- if the public officials do not hold them accountable, and nothing positive happens in the long run. [applause] >> i think john is right. one of the important things about this conference is san francisco is different. i cannot imagine sitting at the table of the chief of police of oakland or sacramento, and the chief of police being here. it does not end the questions. it is a conversation that has to
get down to important issues. it has to start and meetings like this are a start to recognize. i think it is a real positive step. [applause] >> and although i would argue many of the things that were said today on the panel -- and i cannot believe i am going to say this -- i completely agree with john burris and stuart hanlon. [applause] >> thank you for giving my closing comments from me. i would like to thank the public defender's office for providing the public and anybody he wants to come to this forum, hearing from these experts, and they help you take away some good things from this -- and i hope you take away some good things you take away some good things from this panel. >> so many people here.
this is the third and final panel for those of you who have stayed. this is going to be an incredible discussion. leading the panel, this is the chief attorney of the public defender's office, matt gonzalez. >> let me talk about how we decided to have a panel as part of this year is just a summit on the death penalty. san francisco is often known for being a large city, in this case, we have a unique history with the death penalty. during his reelection campaign of 1999, terrence hallohan said
that they would not seek the death penalty for any offense in san francisco. he was reelected by a close margin a few years later, and she took the position that she would not bring any death penalty case. and she was reelected with the same conditions as part of the reelection campaign. harris was elected to be the state of the new general, and gavin newsom elected george gascon to be the district attorney. when asked his position on the death penaltiy, hy, he said he wouldn't rule it out. this raised a lot of concern among opponents of the death penalty who thought this would
be a step backward. he has written against the death penalty, and adheres to san francisco values. san francisco has not had a jury return a death verdict since 1989, which was 10 years before he said his office would not seek the death penalty. we thought this particular issue wanted a discussion and we are pleased to have a palace here today. let me introduce them more at length. geroge gastcocon has had a long career in law enforcement, and he works for decades in the l.a.
police department, serving as the director of the office of operations in charge of patrol and detectives and special operations. he is considered to be an expert in matters of police accountability. john thompson spent 14 years on death row, and after his verdict was set aside he was then facing life in prison. he was fighting for a retrial that took place four years later. he was exonerated by a jury in less than 30 minutes that found him not guilty when he got his retrial, and it was largely the result of the police department not turning over what would have been -- evidence in his first
trial. the united states supreme court reversed the verdict of the jury in this decision. he has found an organization called resurrection after exoneration to help other people seek justice in their respective cases. to his left -- this is the executive director of california death penalty focus, where she works to abolish the death penalty. she did preside as the warden over several executions. natasha is the death penalty policy director for the american civil liberties union of northern california. she previously worked as a deputy public defender in alameda county, and was a staff
attorney with the california task force on criminal instructions. she is also working on the effort to abolish the death penalty in california and pursuing the goal of reforming capital sentencing procedure. before we start with the first question, we have a short video. i have been told that this is a video from the former warden of the mississippi prison. >> it is clear that the execution will take place and something happens. they may not come out and say that they did this, but they will tell the victim -- i am sorry. and then they say, i did this.
and i leaned down to whisper in his ear, and i thought i could reach them because i wanted to make certain that he is at peace with themselves. i said it is not important for you to confess to this crime and is not important for anyone in this room. the only thing that is important is that you let your god know the truth. and he looked at me and he said -- i am at peace with my god. how will you be with yours?
>> do you think that he did this? >> i do not know. >> this is terrible. >> the former governor has come to the conclusion that this boy was probably innocent. we are good friends and have remained so, and the one thing we talk about when we get together -- let's hope that he was guilty because the idea that he signed the warrant and i signed the execution on an innocent kid is something i would not want to have to deal with.
>> more implications for my personal religious background. i remember when i executed him, when i left that night to go to the press conference, my wife was outside and is hit me all at once. every time the war and executes a prisoner, a piece of them dies as well. this leaves you feeling very frustrated, and i had said, with
the executions i was involved with, each of those four times, i climbed into the shower and i would scrub and scrub. but you cannot make yourself clean. when everyone else was sleeping in the middle of the night, i was killing someone. everybody else got to get up once more like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. this is another thing if you actually have to do this. i was watching them die in the gas chamber, and wondered what my children thought of their father. and ultimately, what will my god
asked of me when my time comes to be judged. this, more than anything else, was weighing very heavily on me. >> you get to know these people never forget what they did. when you execute someone who has been there for 12 years, you are not executing the same man who came in. the notion that the system has no flock, -- stanford law school has posted something from 1900, and this is well documented.